Welcoming hot summer March with more ice cream desserts at Mad Mark’s: Cookie a la Mode with an ice cream flavor of your choice and Ghirardelli milk chocolate, white chocolate, or caramel sauce. I stuck to one large scoop of banana peanut butter ice cream.
For some reason, the first thing I was craving for when G and I got back to Manila was some good ramen, so what better place to go (while everyone else was at school or work - ha!) than Ramen Nagi.
I wasn’t able to take a lot of photos as I was extremely famished when we landed in Manila, but the servers make you fill up a sheet to specify what you’d like in your ramen. For example, G got the Butao King (their classic flavor) while I got the Black King (garlic and squid Ink flavor) - then we choose whether we wanted None, Light, Normal, Heavy, Extra Heavy levels of special sauce and garlic; whether we wanted pork shoulder or belly; whether we wanted Extra Hard, Hard, Normal, Soft, Extra Soft noodles, and additional toppings like Tamago (boiled egg) and seaweed.
G’s Butao King was served with Kikurage (shredded mushroom), green onion, fire sauce, and an extra side of tamago. The soup was very flavorful and did have a spicy kick to it! And while it’s not obvious in the photo, the pork belly was quite huge, being practically half inch thick (or more)!
I had the Black King which looked scarily delicious. Beware of wearing white while eating this or you’d have to be extremely careful to not splatter black soup on your clothes. (I ended up covering myself with a scarf, hee hee). I had specified in my order that I wanted the flavors to be “Light”, but gosh, the garlic and seafood flavor was still quite strong (makes me wonder how the “Extra Heavy” version tastes like). Surprisingly, I loved their pork belly - it was very juicy and melt in your mouth! And while I said I was famished when we sat down, I still wasn’t able to finish half my bowl! I forced myself to finish the pork though. I should probably share a bowl next time.
Still, I think that Ramen Nagi has the most flavorful ramen I’ve ever had. It is a little more pricey than other ramen shops because you get to customize your ramen the way you want it, but I’d still recommend it!
Frozen Iced Tea. Icy cold but super sweet!
For our anniversary lunch, G and I decided to splurge a bit by dining at Aria, a high-end Italian restaurant at the D’Mall in Boracay. Aria has been here for a while, but was only then when we got to try their food for the first time.
For starters, we had the Caprese, which had”layers of fresh tomato slices, basil, kalamata olives, and fresh mozzarella seasoned with extra virgin olive oil.” I think the photo pretty much shows how fresh the ingredients were, how creamy and soft the mozzarella was, and how the olives and basil added that kick of flavor with each bite. A simple appetizer but very tasty nonetheless.
We also shared a Pennette al ragu di salsiccia e funghi or “pennette with Italian sausage and mushroom in red sauce”. Their penne was very al dente, and the sauce was very flavorful. G and I both agree though that there should have been more Italian sausage in the pasta.
And last, but certainly not the least, we had this enormous Calzone, which was a “folded pizza with mushroom, mozzarella and ham”.
Here’s what it looks like cut in half - packed to the brim with mushroom, ham and mozzarella! G and I were only able to eat half of it (with the other half eaten for supper the next day), but it was really delicious. I especially liked how soft the dough was, including the “crust” which tasted like soft breadsticks - so addicting!
Beautiful sunset. This photo does not even do it justice.
Ah…Boracay. I know that there are so many other beautiful beaches here in the Philippines, but the last and only time poor G visited Boracay a few years ago, it was raining for the whole of our stay!
I’m really happy that this time around, G and I were able to enjoy a beautiful and sunny Boracay as we celebrated our first year together as a married couple.
Sweet corn vendor. He steams juicy sweet corn, puts it on a stick, and another guy slathers it with butter and sprinkles with iodized salt. Simple but delicious snack!
I think that February isn’t a bad time to visit Boracay as the weather is beautiful (although the water is cooler) and there are fewer people here compared to March and April.
Perfect blue skies, clear water, and fine white sand.
For meals, we had the usual fare like this huge burger from Bite Club and a lot of grilled meat and seafood.
Me and my favorite banana choco milkshake. Jonah’s makes the thickest and most refreshing shakes in the island!
And of course, we had our fair share of shakes from Jonah’s to fight the sweltering noontime heat!
We’ve had such a wonderful time here that it’s hard to believe that we’re back in busy Manila. Hopefully, we have another beach getaway in the near future…after all…summer is just around the corner!
Lord Stow’s Bakery
G came back from his business trip to Macau (too bad I wasn’t able to tag along!) with boxes of egg tarts from Lord Stow’s Bakery. These ones from Macau seem a little larger than the ones we have here, although am not too sure because I haven’t had an egg tart in a long time. This egg tart was super yummy with its dense and flaky crust, and extremely creamy and slightly sweet egg custard filling. It was so tempting to eat more than one in one sitting and it definitely took a lot of self-control to keep ourselves content with just eating one for now.
My family and I had lunch at Balboa (Italian-American cuisine) two consecutive Sundays - the first time, because the other restaurants at the new Shangri-La Mall wing were crowded, and the second time, because the food was pretty good and we didn’t mind eating here again!
For starters, we shared Buffalo Mozzarella served with marinara sauce. Breaded mozzarella is one of my favorite appetizers (along with calamares) and I liked how this was served with fresh basil leaves.
Because I was feeling under the weather that day, I had Wild Mushroom Soup, which was certainly packed with mushroom flavor, but I found a bit too salty.
My parents shared and G had his own Caesar Salad - their salad portions are pretty huge and good for sharing.
I wasn’t feeling too hungry so aside from the soup I had a Prawn Salad with mixed greens, blue cheese, prawns, grapes, parmigiano-reggiano, with my lemon dressing (always, always) on the side. In my salad there were candied walnuts as well, which I really love in salads! I liked how juicy the prawns were, how creamy the blue cheese was and how fresh and crisp the greens were. Definitely something I would order again.
My sister had the Seafood Saffron Risotto - at first glance it would seem that there is not a lot of seafood in it, but in fact my sister was happy with how generous they were with the shrimps, fish and squid. I had a taste of the risotto and it was quite delicious.
G had the Osso Bucco Milanese (braised veal shanks) with gremolata and saffron risotto. He wasn’t too happy with this dish, because half of the veal shank was cartilage and bone - he was hoping for more meat (of course, what do you expect from a hard core meat eater).
I cannot recall what my brother’s dish was called, but this looks like Baked Ziti which I think he enjoyed.
My family liked Balboa because the servings were quite generous and the food was delicious. Looks like this place is somewhere to put in our list of restaurants to regularly visit.
TGIF!!! Tonight I grilled burgers for G and me, sautéed mushrooms in the burger fat with thyme, and served them with corn salsa. Happy weekend everyone!
Healthy Shabu Shabu
I haven’t really been to many shabu shabu restaurants but this restaurant in Rockwell where I had dinner with my colleagues was pretty good! What I liked about Healthy Shabu Shabu is that each person gets his/her own pot for cooking. Aside from the beef (which is the main component of shabu shabu), we were served vegetables, mushrooms, fish balls, crab sticks, tofu, noodles, corn, and taro. We also had to mix up some chili, garlic, scallions, sauce and egg to add flavor to the broth (of course, I hardly put chili in mine, while my other colleague made a super spicy soup). Definitely made for a hearty and comforting dinner!
Is it just me or has the cool weather we’ve been enjoying the past weeks disappeared into thin air? Today felt like a scorching hot summer day! It’s days like this when cheap thrills like this self-serve green tea flavored ice cream from Family Mart, a Japanese convenience store chain, hits the spot! And for just 25 pesos (or less than half a dollar) too!
Happy Chinese New Year to all! So far, G and I are enjoying a very simple and quiet long weekend - especially since we’ve had an extremely hectic January. Earlier this evening, we had coffee and dessert at Park Avenue Desserts.
The place was very cozy and because everyone seems to be out-of-town for the weekend, we had this place practically to ourselves.
G ordered the Roca, which is “chocolate ganache with caramel, vanilla mousse and chocolate cake topped with milk chocolate glaze and roasted almonds.” I wasn’t able to take a photo of this sliced, but inside is nothing but rich, sweet, chocolate-y goodness!
I had the Crème brûlée - I liked how they prepared the thin caramel shell only after I ordered this. The sugar was nice and crunchy and the vanilla custard was rich and creamy. Good thing I had my cappuccino to tone down the sweetness of this dessert.
I have been hearing about Brookies for a while (along with all the hybrid desserts people have been coming up the past year), so we decided to try some too. Brookies are really just brownies with cookie dough mixed into them (definitely will try to make my own version next time)!
Park Avenue Desserts’ version had chewy chocolate chip cookie dough on top of a fudgey and moist brownie. If you like chocolate chip cookies and brownies then this is something you must try! Bites of pure indulgence!
Mad Mark’s Creamery and Good Eats
Earlier this morning I saw fellow Tumblr Eunice’s (The Young Foodie) post about Mad Mark’s and because I’ve wanted to try their ice cream for quite some time, my family and I decided to have dessert there after lunch.
We had quite a feast trying their different flavors! The Strawberries & Cream tasted of sweet strawberries in fresh cream, the Strawberry Cheesecake* was like Strawberries & Cream but with a generous serving of chewy cheesecake bits in it, the Peanut Butter Banana tasted more dominantly of peanut butter than banana (would’ve been tastier with chunky banana bits), the Roasted Pecan was buttery with crunchy bits of pecan, the Walnut Cinnamon had a nice spicy sweetness mixed with crunchy walnuts, and the Sumatra Strong Brew had an extremely strong coffee flavor, a little more bittersweet, but perfect for coffee lovers!
After reading a couple of food blogs on this place, I realized that I have to try their ”Rolling Dutchman” (Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream sandwiched between two English Muffins - one muffin spread with Nutella and the other muffin spread with Cookie Butter!!!!) at my next visit. Next time!
*The label in the photo should be “cheesecake” instead of “shortcake” - - sorry!
Funny how here in the Philippines (and I think our friends across Southeast Asia are experiencing the same thing) are experiencing 8-16C degree weather and we all now have excuses to wear jackets and warmer clothes. I myself have reverted back to tropical weather and am no longer used to the negative temperatures that I endured while living in the US a couple of years ago.
So of course, what better way to end a cool Saturday evening than with traditional Hot Chocolate and soft and warm ensaymada. G had the regular ensaymada with Edam cheese, while I had the apple cinnamon ensaymada with Edam cheese - it tasted like warm apple pie on super pillowy bread…super comforting!
More Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao
This weekend, G and I returned to Crystal Jade for the Black Truffle Xiao Long Bao and Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao. After having tried all the flavors that Crystal Jade had (we tried the rainbow set last week!), G and I agree that the differences in each flavor are very subtle.
Between the black truffle and the foie gras flavors, I preferred the black truffle more because you could definitely taste the earthly mushroom flavor in the dumpling. Nonetheless, both flavors were juicy and delicious.